Alamar (To the Sea)

Some fathers are born, some are made, and some were never meant to be. Jorge Machado, a Mayan fisherman, was evidently born to be one – every motion and facial tick suggests as much under the proving stare of Pedro González-Rubio’s lens. Alamar (aka To the Sea) is a study of fatherhood as a binding maleness between generations and a force of nature, an event as sublime as a maritime sunset or storm. If González-Rubio’s ephemeral little film is fixated on beauty, fatherhood in its ideal form possesses an aesthetic as riveting as a tropical lagoon or a perfect body. There’s no ugliness in Alamar; its setting, its actors, its scenes and its themes are idyllic – a space filled, for the most part, with charming faces, balmy days, and connections between the living that are too sweet to exist for long. Everything is tenuous, from an old man’s lingering agility to a reef’s sustainability. Into this context slip Jorge and his five-year-old son, Natan, a devoted pair separated by circumstance. Jorge’s three-year relationship with an urban Italian appears in photos and home video to have been sweetly tenuous in its own way while it lasted. “Unhappy with each other’s reality,” Jorge and Roberta are forced to revert back to their original environments, which means Natan will soon be living with his mother in Rome while Jorge remains in Mexico. Barefoot, he collects his son for an extended father-son visit on the coast, where he hopes to instruct Natan about his Mayan heritage before his Italian upbringing defines him.

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